Let’s Get Real

It’s been almost a year since I’ve published a blog post.  My last post was about happiness.  The post before that was about perspective.  In each of these posts, I promised that I would change my habits and my feelings towards life.  I promised to see things differently.  I promised to treat people better – remembering they have a path too.  But I find myself back in the same position and overall, my life has not changed.  In fact, over the last year several people who I thought were my friends, showed their true colors.  Maybe I showed them mine as well.  However, over the same year, I have made a few new friends that seem to be the real deal.

Many times over the past year I have sat down with a full post in mind, but once I started typing, the words didn’t flow.  The topic was too dark or my mindset was somewhere else and the topic fell flat.  Or maybe the thoughts through my head were too scattered and I couldn’t figure out a way to express what I really wanted to say.

But I really do love to write.  I have three journals I keep close by (one in the store, one at my nightstand and one in my home office).  They stay close to me for those times that I have a good thought, reflection or epiphany.    Or maybe I come across a quote I don’t want to forget.  These journals are getting full with random things from my mostly boring life, but one day I know they will become the timeline of my life on earth.  They define my daily habits and ultimately define who I really am.  These journals know me better than any friend, husband or relative in my life.  These journals get the raw thoughts from my mind that are unedited, uncensored and unfiltered.  I can assure you they are nothing newsworthy or what the locals would like to think.  They are pieces of me.  Pieces of my heartbreaks.  My failures.  My losses.  My loves.  Pieces of what makes me tick.  Pieces of what makes me whole.

Writing makes me whole.  It drives a creative passion in my soul that some days I can’t walk away from.  It makes me feel real.  It makes me happy and see things in a perspective not seen in the real world.

I hope you will walk with me on my new path now that I have cleared my mind.  My new path that may not always be pretty but one that will be honest, transparent and whole.

Now let’s get real.

 

 

 

 

Kindness

be kidnDefinition of kindness

kindness: noun  kind·ness \ˈkīn(d)-nəs\

  1. 1:  the quality or state of being kind treating people with kindness and respect

  2. 2:  a kind deed :favorThey did me a great kindness.

Why is it so hard to treat people with kindness and respect?  As humans, we are self-centered beings that believe the universe really does revolve around us and our lives. You may be saying, ‘not me!…I always put others first!’.  But do you?  Think to your worst day, and remember that you may have been unkind to someone for no fault of their own. They just happened to cross your path.

And Everyone has their own Path.

I feel I need to trademark this statement as I have said it countless times over the last three years.  My friends are sick of hearing it, but it’s true.  We all travel on different paths for different reasons.  Each day brings a new path and sometimes the world detours us in a direction that send us spinning onto another path.

December 2013 through May 2015 were 18 months of hell for me. (Sorry mom for the cuss word but you remember that time and thank you for helping me get through it all.) During that time, we moved to Ellerslie, GA due to a transfer in my husband’s company; my two favorite uncles passed away – each one in an instant with a heart-attack less than 12 months apart; and my biological father passed away forcing us to travel to Nebraska.   I hated living in south Georgia for a multitude of reasons.  The closest grocery store was a 26 mile drive and the nearest gas station closed at 7pm.  I hated the landscape, the schools, the weather, the food, and mostly the people. Why did I hate the people? They had done nothing to me.  In fact, I made a point to not make any friends because I knew I would leave as soon as possible. The reality is that they probably hated me.

While out shopping one day, I looked at the people around me:  strangers out shopping for groceries dressed in pajamas;  people driving like crazy in vehicles that look like they are about to fall apart; and rude cashiers.  What was there problem?  Can they not get up and get dressed to go out?  Can they not get a car that has a decent paint job?  Why can’t the cashier greet me with a smile and a warm welcoming greeting?

Then it dawned on me…….maybe their path is different than mine.  As silly as this sounds, it was profound to me that day.  Maybe they are depressed and don’t want to get dressed properly for the day.  Maybe they can’t afford to fix their car.  And maybe the cashier missed her kids school performance because she was waiting on ungrateful customers like me in order to pay her bills.

This is not about privilege of any kind.  Not at all.  This is about what each and every one of us goes through each day.  Our struggles and our joys.  No matter your financial status, race or ethnicity, this is about our paths.  And remember….everyone has one.

But our paths can change.  And I’m trying to change mine for the better.  I’m trying very hard each day to be a better person and stay away from negativity.  I want to be the good in the world.  I really, really do.   But then I get on social media and my attitude changes. Lord have mercy there are some nasty people out there!  I can’t imagine the path they travel and certainly wouldn’t want to drive with them!

So I made a decision the other day…..

Rather than just talk about putting kindness out in the world, I’ve joined a group in the area that actually places kindness around for people to find.  The Carroll County MD Kindness Rocks Facebook group  is all about spreading kindness.  It’s the simplest idea but so brilliant….paint a rock, then place it somewhere around town for someone to find. They can either keep the rock or place it in a new location.  The person that finds the rock may need a little kindness in their day and just imagine the impact it could make! This idea is not original to this group.  This type of thing is growing all over the country and it’s something for everyone….not limited to age or ability.  We are planning a rock painting day soon so be on the lookout for more painted rocks around the area.  If you find one, I hope it makes your path a little brighter.

Sending lots of love and kindness to you my friends….

 

Perspective

A friend of mine is very ill.  She was admitted to hospice this week after a short battle with cancer.  I am devastated.  She is a wonderful woman and a friend to everyone.  She is a God fearing Christian that helped me memorize a verse to calm my fear of flying.  She gave a kidney to a woman she barely knew to help save her life.  She has a beautiful family and they do not deserve to be without her.  Sometimes I just don’t understand God’s plan.  She would not like me saying that (neither would my Granny Carlock), but I just don’t get it.  With so many awful people in this world, why her?  She has so much more to do.  So many more people to help, encourage, inspire, and mentor.

I’m sure you know where I’m going with this….There are no guarantees in life. Tomorrow is never promised.   I’m fed up spending time on things that don’t matter. I’m tired of being angry over things I can’t control.  With this new perspective, I’m going to work hard on being a better person.  A person that enjoys life.  A person that is joyful.  A person that wants to be kind and do good things with a cheerful heart.  A person where this comes naturally.   This news of my friend has put things into perspective…..do what you feel is right and spend time with those that matter, because in the end that’s who you are left with.

My friend’s daughter is a blogger and wrote this post about her mom.  I felt I should share the blog so you can ‘meet’ my friend and understand the kind of person I want to become.  https://christinafaith.blog/2017/03/16/life-interrupted

 

 

 

Gossip

Remember in middle school when you would play ‘gossip’?  You know the game….where everyone at the party would sit in a circle and the first person would whisper something to the next person, then they would repeat what they heard to the person next to them and so on.  By the time the statement or comment reached the last person, the original statement was so far from the truth that it was actually funny.  Gossip in real life is not funny.

I live in a small town of about 6500 people.  We are ‘newcomers’, having only been here for just a little over two years.  Most people in this county were born and raised right here…generation after generation.  Everyone knows everyone at least in some way. The seven degrees of Carroll County could be reduced to three degrees! Small towns can be great for some things.  Yesterday proved that for my family as we needed help and our close friends gathered their resources and were there for my daughter.  The feeling of knowing we can count on someone and trust is priceless.

However, small town life can be full of busy-bodies that actually enjoy talking about other people and taking advantage of their misfortunes or hardships.   I actually had a customer tell me that she enjoyed talking about people and thought it was fun.  This was after she told me about a rumor that was going around about me!  Personally, I would rather do something productive, creative or educational.   Don’t get me wrong….if there is great juice on someone with solid evidence….you can go all in on red that I’m on the phone with my best friend in Texas to tell her all about it!

But what does gossiping accomplish?  How does it affect the person being talked about? And what does it say about the person gossiping?  I hope this post doesn’t bore you as it may be long, but this is something that has been heavy on my heart for several weeks and need to get it out.

We’ve all had that gut feeling that others are talking about you.  No matter where you live, what organizations you belong to, or the circle of friends you keep, you have felt that vibe that people are talking.  Maybe it’s as simple as changing your hairstyle or as worrisome of money problems that you are afraid have leaked out to those around you. Or maybe you actually have done something bad and now everyone knows. Most of the time, this is all in our heads.  People don’t really care about you as much as you’d like to think (I’m still trying to master this one!).  Once it comes out that people are actually running their mouths about you….you may feel shocked, ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated, angry, resentful, or even relieved.  For me, I was relieved.  Then I lost respect for a lot of people in this town.  If the gossip was truth about me (which it wasn’t), why didn’t my so-called-friends reach out to me?  Instead, they chose to shy away and continue to talk rather than seek out the truth.  Don’t they know that fact is stranger than fiction?

When someone gossips about another person (which we’re ALL guilty of at some point), that speaks volumes about that person’s character.  Yes, there are plenty of studies out there about self-worth and insecurities that would give us a really pretty answer as to why people gossip on a regular basis.  However since this is me writing this post, I will give my uneducated opinion as to why people gossip and what it says about them.  They do it to because they have nothing else to talk about.  They have nothing interesting in their lives going on, so they feel the need to “embellish” yours.  They are most likely jealous or intimidated of you in some way or another.  And furthermore, they do not have the guts to come and ask you if the rumors are true.

In summary, if you are a gossiper by nature….people do not hold respect for you and will see that you can’t be trusted.  If you enjoy talking about others before going to the source, you are doing more harm than good for everyone involved.

If you are the one that is the topic of gossip chats and luncheons, that could actually be a good thing in some way.  They say all publicity is good, right?! If you’ve done nothing wrong, then hold your head up and carry on.   One of my favorites here: FUN Carry On

Over the last few months, I have struggled with anxiety over the thought of what people think of me.  It can become obsessive at times.  And absolutely ridiculous.  I am aware that people are talking about me because I have been pushed out of every meeting, email, text and phone call by all the other businesses in town.  By worrying about what others think about me, I have put these irrelevant people before my personal goals, my family and my business.  And I know the truth….and I have nothing to hide.  If you have heard a rumor about me or my store….please talk to me before making assumptions. ‘Cause we all know what happens when we assume…….

 

Imperfections

Since my last post, I’ve had plenty of time to think about the store.  That’s all I do….think and talk about the store.  Sometimes it’s too much and I know people get sick of hearing about it.  But I want so badly for my dream to be a reality.  Yes, the dream of a brick and mortar store was accomplished.  But there’s more in me…more desire to make this place a piece of history.  The building is 121 years old.  Every once in a while, I look around at all the imperfections on the walls, ceilings and floors.  Each imperfection is a story.  Each nail hole represents that someone at sometime wanted to place an image or a product to show off.  Each scuff mark on the floor represents a human that walked through the building.  Each crack in the beams are a visual reminder that we all get older and our fine lines will show.  There are thousands of stories that create the feeling that building possesses.  But with each imperfection, just like humans, we get better.  The bones of the building are solid.  There are so many more stories to tell….many more nail holes, scuff marks and cracks to come. So many more people to touch in the small ways that make life worth living.  One day last month, a customer that I don’t know very well came in and told me that when she walks in the door to my store, she has an overwhelming sense of peace.  This was probably the most sincere and appreciated compliment I have ever received.  Maybe that was the moment I realized to keep the store open.  Not for me, but for the people of our community.  There will be more mistakes made, more bad days and plenty more sleepless nights thinking of how to make things better.  But what I realized is that life is about the small things.  If I can help make someone’s day a little better by having an imperfect store, then that’s exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Happiness

My dream was to own a retail store.  I had dreamed of being an entrepreneur of an adorable shop that sold trendy home decor and gifts.  On our travels, I would go to little shops and be envious of the store owner.  Sometimes I would criticize the store for what I now know was probably not overlooked by the owner.  They just didn’t have time to get to the dirty floors or broken merchandise.  They were probably preoccupied with inventory, taxes, planning, marketing, and listening to customers ‘suggestions’.

In November of 2015, my dream came true.  I was the owner of an adorable store in the heart of a historic downtown area.  Things couldn’t have been better.  By opening during the holidays really helped that first push.  Business was great and the town was very supportive.   People would ask why I opened a store in this town.  I would reply, “why not?”  I would ignore the negativity….at least for as long as I could.  By late summer, things got really bad and my attitude had declined tremendously.  I was ready to throw in the towel, but my husband wouldn’t let me. He pushed me through my first anniversary.  He told me I would regret not making it a full year. He was so right.

So here I am another six months into the wonderful world of retail and still want to leave.  Retail and I just don’t seem to fit.  I enjoy being at home restoring our historic house, planning grocery trips and spending time with my husband and daughter.  I read so many articles that tell you to do what makes you happy.  As my birthday approaches (tomorrow) I feel the time slipping away.  Only 2 more years until my youngest graduates high school.  My oldest just got married and the wedding feels like a blur.  I want to enjoy life, not run through it.  I want to be happy and as each day passes, I realize retail does not satisfy my soul like I thought.

What does satisfy my soul is crafting.  Creating something out of nothing is what makes me happy.  Having projects and seeing them through to the end is what makes me happy.  Even if those projects are simple.  The fact that there was an idea, I put it to life and even if I throw it away, it brings me joy.  Running around like a crazy woman trying to please complete strangers for the possibility of a profit does not make me happy.

So where to go from here?  Liquidate and close the store entirely?  Stay open just the two days a week and be forced to keep the store stocked, cleaned, insured, etc?  I guess I will enjoy my birthday eve with a few drinks and think about what tomorrow will bring……20160422_182503